On Stage

This Summer at Theatre Aspen: Here Comes Hairspray

With a retro musical headlining the season, the organization also looks to the future.

By Andrew Travers May 24, 2017 Published in the Summer 2017 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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Hairspray begins previews on June 24, opens June 27, and runs through August 19.

Get your beehive ready and prepare for a welcome dose of American idealism and catchy show tunes—Hairspray is coming to town.

Based on the 1988 John Waters film, the buoyant and family-friendly musical celebration of Kennedy-era youth culture follows a chubby teen in early 1960s Baltimore as she chases her dream to dance on the Corny Collins Show, where she finds celebrity and a platform to champion racial integration.

The beloved show won eight Tonys for its original 2002 run on Broadway, and last December was performed live in a new NBC television production. The Theatre Aspen production will be helmed by director and choreographer Mark Martino, who has worked magic in the cozy confines of the Hurst Theatre—with less than 200 seats and an intense in-your-face thrust layout—in credits including Les Misérables, Cabaret, and Mamma Mia!

Hairspray begins previews on June 24, opens June 27, and runs through August 19. It will run in repertory with the two-person drama Sex with Strangers (July 6 to Aug 12) and the children’s show The World According to Snoopy (July 13 to Aug 15).

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Outgoing Theatre Aspen executive director Paige Price.

The summer season also marks the local curtain call for Theatre Aspen executive artistic director Paige Price, who is leaving after a decade at the helm. (New York–based director and producer Markus Potter has stepped as interim artistic director.) During her tenure, she helped elevate Theatre Aspen to national prominence, built the Hurst, and—in collaboration with the City of Aspen—revamped the wetlands surrounding it into one of the most beautiful parks in town. Last year, the company was the most-honored in the state at the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Awards, taking home eight prizes.

Price, who will stay on as a consultant for the summer, is leaving to be artistic director at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. “My biggest hope is that Theatre Aspen continues to get national recognition for excellent programming and for fostering new work,” she says. “I also hope that the Aspen Theatre Festival [September 9–16] really takes off and becomes something as recognizable as Sundance.”

For Theatre Aspen tickets and showtimes visit theatreaspen.org.

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